Who’d have thought mango picking would be such a potentially dangerous career path?
Even before we arrived at the farm we were warned of horror stories regarding the juicy fruit, however, as with most things, we thought it would never happen to us… It did! Learning the hard way, I figured I’d write my top 5 mango farm workplace hazards;
1. Mango Rash
Mango rash is an extremely itchy, well rash, that breaks out seemingly for no reason other than due to regular contact with mango sap. The rash typically breaks out in areas including; behind the knees and the inside of your forearm. It then spreads across the body all whilst treating you with an unbearable itch. Though there are treatments available, it’s advised to stop picking and sit out the 2/3 weeks of discomfort, itching ones self every so often.
Mangoes are grown in the tropical climate of the northern territory. This means one thing, well two actually; unbearable heat & a swift shower every so often. Regardless of cloud cover, always wear sunscreen!
3. Mango Sap
I covered this one briefly earlier, however the sap itself can cause severe burns to the skin if the two come in contact. The acid burn itself doesn’t hurt, but will itch (unbearably, similar to mango rash) after a day or two. Burns to the skin are nothing in comparison however to the potentially blinding effects of getting the sap in your eyes. Always snap the mango away from yourself & wear trousers to reduce the risk of injury.
4. The Harvesting Aid
A huge piece of machinery capable of crushing you in an instant. Stay vigilant and don’t walk in front of the machine. Thankfully this didn’t happen to either of us, but an unfortunate chap on a nearby farm was lucky to escape minor injuries just last week.
Drink plenty of water, and I mean plenty. Temperatures in Mareeba can reach close to 40 degrees. It’s imperative to stay hydrated.
We have now completed our forth week on the farm and are loving every minute of it. It’s just a shame that the season is due to end in 2/3 weeks.
For more information, or to find work at a mango farm in Australia, I highly recommend AREA (Australian Regional Employment Agencies)